Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in plastics, including food packaging, is associated with a higher risk of obesity in girls aged between 9 and 12 years, researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, reported in the journal PLoS ONE.
The authors wrote that girls in the beginning and middle of puberty whose BPA urine levels are above average have double the risk of being obese/overweight, compared to their counterparts with lower levels.
Lead researcher, De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, said:
"This study provides evidence from a human population that confirms the findings from animal studies - that high BPA exposure levels could increase the risk of overweight or obesity."
BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960s to make certain plastics and resins, it is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are commonly used in food and drink containers, such as water bottles, as well as other consumer goods. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of food and drink cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants also contain BPA.
There has been concern over the last few years that BPA can seep into foods or drinks from containers that contain the chemical. BPA exposure has been associated with undesirable health effects on the brain, and the prostate gland of fetuses, babies and children. One study showed that BPA exposure in the womb raised the risk of behavioral and emotional problems later on.